FEATURED SECTION

Reparations in Higher Education

The Reparations in Higher Education platform seeks to reimagine racial justice and equity in universities and colleges across the country.

FEATURED SECTION

Reparations in Higher Education

The Reparations in Higher Education platform seeks to reimagine racial justice and equity in universities and colleges across the country.

A Scholars for Social Justice Platform

While universities are often viewed as ivory towers, far from everyday politics, the university is both deeply embedded in structures of racial hierarchy and inequality and remains a crucial site for reimagining education and society more broadly. This platform seeks to boldly reimagine racial justice in higher education through a framework of reparations. We consider the multiple roles of the university, analyze how institutions of higher education have reproduced racial inequality and outline policies, campaigns, and approaches that repair relations of injustice.    

Marcia Chatelain, Associate Professor at Georgetown University discusses importance of repertory framework in universities.

Why Reparations at Universities?

While many calls for reparations single out the state as the primary perpetrator of racial harm and thus also as the primary site for demanding redress, universities have also played a historical and on-going role in perpetuating racial inequality.

Recent historical studies have shown the centrality of slavery and settler-colonialism to the founding and financing of colleges and universities in the United States. Universities, like the rest of country were founded on stolen indigenous land, slave labor built many institutions of higher education and the global and national trade in which slavery and colonialism was central provided key sources of funding for institutions.

Institutions of higher education actively participated in the perpetuation of ideologies of race that naturalized and justified racial exclusion and domination. Theories of racial inferiority developed and sustained within the academy had consequences beyond the ivory towers as they fueled popular knowledge and shaped the contours of political debate.

While many calls for reparations single out the state as the primary perpetrator of racial harm and thus also as the primary site for demanding redress, universities have also played a historical and on-going role in perpetuating racial inequality.

While many higher education institutions have embraced the language of diversity and inclusion, they function as sites for the entrenchment of political and economic power rather than vehicles for its redistribution. This is particularly the case in the contemporary context of massive public divestment from education, spiraling tuition costs, and high levels of indebtedness for working and middle-class students. The university as a site for the reproduction of power is not limited to this question of who can access a university education. As employers, real estate developers, and managers of large endowments, institutions of higher education are deeply implicated in broader circuits of inequality.

Marcia Chatelain, Associate Professor at Georgetown University discusses importance of repertory framework in universities.

Why Reparations at Universities?

While many calls for reparations single out the state as the primary perpetrator of racial harm and thus also as the primary site for demanding redress, universities have also played a historical and on-going role in perpetuating racial inequality.

Recent historical studies have shown the centrality of slavery and settler-colonialism to the founding and financing of colleges and universities in the United States. Universities, like the rest of country were founded on stolen indigenous land, slave labor built many institutions of higher education and the global and national trade in which slavery and colonialism was central provided key sources of funding for institutions.

Institutions of higher education actively participated in the perpetuation of ideologies of race that naturalized and justified racial exclusion and domination. Theories of racial inferiority developed and sustained within the academy had consequences beyond the ivory towers as they fueled popular knowledge and shaped the contours of political debate.

While many calls for reparations single out the state as the primary perpetrator of racial harm and thus also as the primary site for demanding redress, universities have also played a historical and on-going role in perpetuating racial inequality.

While many higher education institutions have embraced the language of diversity and inclusion, they function as sites for the entrenchment of political and economic power rather than vehicles for its redistribution. This is particularly the case in the contemporary context of massive public divestment from education, spiraling tuition costs, and high levels of indebtedness for working and middle-class students. The university as a site for the reproduction of power is not limited to this question of who can access a university education. As employers, real estate developers, and managers of large endowments, institutions of higher education are deeply implicated in broader circuits of inequality.

Sections

Reparations in higher education requires examining the multiple roles of the university from employer to investor. Click on the links below to examine the history of this project and explore how a reparatory framework can transform the different dimensions of the University.

Sections

Reparations in higher education requires examining the multiple roles of the university from employer to investor. Click on the links below to examine the history of this project and explore how a reparatory framework can transform the different dimensions of the University.